Sunday, March 18, 2012

David Essex: Rock On

It's not that this is a very good record: it's that it is far better than it needed to be.

David Essex had made his first record as a teenager in 1963, but 10 years later was better known as an actor, having appeared in Godspell in the West End and in the film That'll be the Day.

Then in 1973 he suddenly emerged as a teenybopper idol - Britain's answer to David Cassidy, if not Donny Osmond.

Given that Essex's popularity was based on his looks more than anything else, and that his audience spent most of its time screaming anyway, he could have given them any old rubbish.

What they got was this strange deconstruction of a rock song, written by Essex himself. And his next single was Lamplight, with its odd jazzy feel.

Later he did give us any old rubbish as singles: Hold me Close, for instance.

Last year I was watching EastEnders. The voice of one of the characters was strangely familiar, but I couldn't place the face of the old geezer. Then I realised it was David Essex.

My heart sank a little, but not as much as it did when I caught a glimpse of the test coverage when I was in the bar at Leicestershire's Grace Road ground and wondered who the old man on the screen was.

It was David Gower.

The moral is that 1973 was a long time ago.

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